There are few places in the world quite like Croatia. The beauty of the Adriatic Sea combined with ancient history and exquisite cuisine leads to one fun filled adventure, which is why Croatia has become one of the hottest low-key travel destinations for travelers of all ages.
Situated directly on the Adriatic Sea, Split is Croatia’s largest city on the Croatian coast. Featuring a mix of modern life with ruins dating back to the Roman Empire, Split offers a bustling seafront, ancient history and fresh seafood served at numerous restaurants throughout the Old Town.
A leisurely walk on the pedestrian friendly Marmanotova Utica next to the Old Town in Split will lead you to the seafront Riva Promenade lined with tall palm trees, bustling cafes and shaded benches.
The Riva Promenade runs along the harbor of Split. The perfect place for an evening stroll while enjoying a refreshing gelato or catching dinner at any one of the sidewalk eating establishments overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
At the center of Old Town Split is the Palace of Diocletian, a massive complex built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian in 305 AD. The east colonnade of the Peristyle is a favorite gathering spot in the Palace. It’s easy to imagine people sitting on these same steps hundreds of years ago, relaxing and carrying on conversations the same as we do today!
Originally constructed to support the Emporer’s apartments on the upper floors, the Cellars are among the best preserved remains of the Palace (if you are a Games of Thrones fan, you’ll recognize the Palace’s cellars as one of the filming locations). The Cellars are accessible from the Riva through the Porta Aenea. Admission cost 30/15kn or approximately US$4.00.
Saint Domnius Bell Tower
The Bell Tower of St. Domnius Cathedral located within Diocletian’s Palace stands 57 meters (187 feet) tall and is the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world having been completed in the 7th century AD. The Bell Tower itself was started in the 13th century and is the most original example of Dalmatian Medieval architecture. Be prepared to climb over 180 steps (some are steep, narrow stone steps) to get to the top, but the view is well worth it!
Climbing the stairs to the top of the Tower gives a breathtaking view of the massive bells and pulley system.
As we climb higher up the Tower, the views become more awesome. Once at the top of the Bell Tower, we are awarded with a spectacular view of the entire Old Town Split and Adriatic Sea.
Statue of Gregory Nin
At 7.62 meters (25 feet) tall, the Statue of Grgur Ninski (or, Gregory Nin) is imposing, and the closer we got, the more imposing it became. During the 10th century, Gregory was the Bishop of Nin, a small Croatian town known for being the centre of the medieval Christian Diocese of Nin. Beyond the sheer size of the statue, it is also known for bringing good luck … just rub the big toe on the left foot. I’m not sure it works since I haven’t yet won the lottery, but based on the shine it is obvious many people over the years must believe it’s true!
The Venetian-style Republic Square is the main gathering place in Split and host to The Split Festival held every July showcasing Croatia’s finest singers and musicians. Commissioned in the 18th century, the architecture of Prokurative (or, Republic Square) was inspired by Venice, Italy’s St. Mark’s Square making it notably different from the rest of Split’s Romanesque style.
The courtyard also has wonderful bars and restaurants to relax while enjoying the views of the Adriatic Sea.
Split Green Market
Walking along the Riva near the Diocletian Palace, we stopped by Split’s Green Market. The scent of fresh flowers mixed with the colorful fruit all sold by local vendors is not to be missed. And what better way to make your hotel room or Airbnb more enjoyable than with a fresh bouquet!
Sports & Events
Split is also host to a number of events throughout the summer months including the annual International Rowing Regatta that takes place in front of the Riva Promenade and concludes on the steps of the Diocletian Palace
as well as numerous art and music concerts (many free to the public) such as this evening concert by the Croatian Navy Orchestra and klapa Sveti Jurassic (Navy Ensemble) on the square of the HNK Split building.
Where To Stay
Planning a trip to Split, Croatia? Check out our recommendation here on where to stay.
Have you been to Split? Tell us about it!
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